The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday stitched an alliance with the 10-month-old Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) in Haryana and will meet the governor on Saturday to stake claim to form the government.
At a press conference on Friday night, BJP President Amit Shah announced that his JJP counterpart, Dushyant Chautala, will be the deputy chief minister, while Manohar Lal Khattar will once again lead Haryana as the chief minister.
"Going by the mandate of the voters of Haryana, leaders of both parties have decided that BJP and JJP will form the government together. The chief minister will be from the BJP and deputy chief minister will be from the JJP," Shah said.
The alliance is in line with the "spirit" of people's mandate, he added.
Shah and Chautala were accompanied by Khattar and other BJP leaders at the press conference.
Chautala said his party believed the alliance was necessary for stability in Haryana.
The BJP's decision to win over Chautala underlines its quest to placate Jats, a dominant community in the state who are believed to have voted mostly against the saffron party in the recent polls, to ensure a smooth run of its government.
Khattar said both the parties had worked together in the past.
Sources said Shah had spoken to Chautala even before the results were out, following inputs that the BJP might not get a majority on its own, PTI reported.
Top BJP leaders were swift to reach out to Chautala after the electorate threw up a hung assembly. Chautala had, till late Friday afternoon, kept his cards close to his chest, saying neither Congress nor BJP was "untouchable".
Most of the seven independent MLAs have also pledged their support to the party.
Majority of the independent MLAs are BJP rebels and several of them have given their letters of support to Khattar during a meeting at the residence of the party's working president, JP Nadda, in the national capital.
The saffron party faced flak after controversial MLA Gopal Kanda, an accused in two abetment-to-suicide cases, announced his support to its bid to form the government in Haryana.
Senior BJP leader Uma Bharti appealed to her party not to forget its moral goals, a suggestion that it should not be seeking Kanda's support for forming a government.
BJP's Haryana in-charge Anil Jain said the party's top brass would take a call on the controversial MLA's support.
BJP leaders are also confident of lone Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) MLA Abhay Chautala's support to its government.
Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman and BJP general secretary Arun Singh will attend Saturday's legislative party meeting as central observers, Jain said.
(With inputs from PTI)